Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dog Training in Cabo San Lucas

Enrique Morales Perron
The phenomenon of the Dog Whisperer is real. From his wildly popular TV show to all of his charity efforts, Cesar Milan is a God amongst dog trainers. He gets results AND he’s soft-spoken, charming and good looking. He's has even been on South Park! Natch.

Unfortunately, I can’t wait in line to audition for his TV show and I can’t afford his private rates. But I do follow him on Facebook. :)
Cesar’s efforts and popularity over the last 9 years have brought to popular culture, a whole new school of thought around dog ownership.  Basically, if you are having trouble with your dog, it’s all on you. You didn’t understand the language, read the signs, modify the behavior, apply the assertive (not aggressive) discipline, do your pack leader duties etc.
Dogs are not human. Sure they can beg like humans, get sick like humans, overeat like humans and even take human drugs such as Valium and Benadryl, but in the end they are just dogs. They like rolling in shit, scratching at their fleas and licking their butts.
They have certain instincts and a pack mentality and these must be honored and preserved in their relations with humans.
I am guilty of all of the common mistakes with my dog, Baja. She is now five+ years old and seemingly healthy, but she was becoming more aggressive and more anxious. This happened just as I was becoming more fearful and worried about life in general. Imagine that.
I give her plenty of exercise, the best and most expensive food available, holistic healthcare, toys, love and bed privileges. It turns out dogs need discipline and exercise more than they need love. And they particularly need us to be strong and stay alert (but not anxious) when we are out and about with them. Calm and firm. Never abusive. Yelling and kicking just confuses them and then they don't trust us so why should they listen?
Turning your life and emotional well-being over to a dog is of course CRAZY. Preferring dogs to people is crazy too but lots of people feel that way. What I recently learned, is that if you aren’t a kind, firm, strong pack leader, not only will your dog take advantage of you, your dog will feel so uncomfortable in the leadership position that all sorts of weird behaviors will develop. They will even try to protect you and solve your problems.

Last I checked, there weren’t any certified psychologists with four legs and a tail.
Chewing shoes, their own feet, table legs, dragging their blankets around, staring at the ceiling, taking their food halfway across the room bite by bite to eat it, barking aggressively at people they know and like... The list goes on.
I knew we needed help, and it magically and affordably appeared in the form of Enrique. Enrique Morales Perron is the Dog Commander. He doesn’t whisper. He doesn’t hit them or use choke chains. He doesn't coddle them. He doesn’t give any treats or even verbal praise for a job well done. He expects the dog to behave well and when they don’t they get little leg bumps and corrections until they pay attention, understand and submit.

He's also big on helping the dog remember that he is a dog. Not a stuffed toy and not a Momma's Boy or Girl.
He speaks their language. He understands them perfectly and even does a hands-on chiropractic type of adjustment to remove tension stuck in their furry bodies.
He trains about 20 dogs at a time, pack-style at an abandoned cannery in Cabo San Lucas by the Marina. He doesn’t yet have a TV show but I feel certain he soon will. He is a character. Animated and concerned about your pet, strong in his convictions, kind and a little mystical. He took one look at my dog and said, “She is blocked in the head. She needs a leader, not a mother.”
BUSTED. I left her there that day even though I sensed she would get very dirty and scuffed up and that they might not follow all the directions I gave them regarding medicine, special food etc. to a T. It was very hard for me to let go. I suffered a lot of anxiety worrying about her.

It has been indescribably lonely living without her for the first time in 5 years . I pestered Enrique, albeit politely, and I haltingly accepted his refusal to let me see her after 1 week.
I saw her at the 2 week mark and she was completely different. No knitted brows, Relaxed, smiling like a dolphin. She had some cuts and scabs and a small rash under her armpit but she was eating and she clearly had fallen in love with the Comandante.

When she whined, barked, strained at the leash and appeared to have missed me, he said, “That is not ‘happy to see you.’ That is anxiety.” As ego-bruising as it was, it made sense to me.
In less than two weeks, he got her to stop barking at everyone and everything. He took her into a group of kids on skateboards. She HATES kids AND skateboards. I don’t hate them. I never did, but now each time I see them I fear I won’t be able to hold her back when all 50lbs of her lunges forward to kill them.
WTF? Yeah, that’s her above. My killer attack dog who hates skateboards and menaces small children.

Enrique says that dogs can also smell the fear, doubt, anxiety on you. I always knew this about horses and had no trouble feeling comfortable on a 1200 lb animal for most of my life. But because I depend on Baja for everything (exercise, protection, companionship, someone to mother) my defenses are down and she can read me (i.e. smell me) like a book.
Hopefully it’s only two more weeks. I have a lot of homework to do and we will check in with Enrique periodically so all his hard work doesn’t evaporate. I see the light. I want to change, but sometimes change is very, very HARD.
LESSON: Don’t treat your dog like a child, boyfriend, or as a substitute for anything other than a dog. FYI, the expression ‘Man’s Best Friend’ is not meant to be taken literally!
If you have a problem dog or a puppy you want to start out right and you live or vacation in the Cabo San Lucas area, CALL ENRIQUE: 624 122 1316. He also does training sessions and travel appointments ( if dropping your dog off for a month isn’t for you.)

Cabo Flora Farms

Or Flora Farms as it is affectionately known...

Same phenomenon for me as Santa Carmela Market; never heard of it and then all of a sudden couldn't stop hearing about it.

Last July I was determined to go and drag my friends and we kept getting rained out. I had to go back to the USA August-October, but in early Nov. I finally went for the first time. Then I went 2 more times and 2 more after that.

The first few times it was dark and my camera was totally unworthy. The next few I got some good pics. After that I got lazy and just enjoyed the food.

Also, I tend to like to blog about stuff in the 'discovery phase' but Flora Farms is now in the 'must go' phase and in the last year has been covered extensively in a number of high profile mags. Plus, being a Jennifer Anniston, George Clooney fav hasn't hurt them at all.

Travel & Leisure

Discover San Jose

They are also a primo Cabo wedding spot and you can even live on the premises by buying one of their artisan built cottages where your food and fresh veggies are delivered nightly. Sign me up! But lend me a lot of money first. :)

EVERYTHING I have eaten here is BEYOND FANTASTIC. BEYOND. BEYOND. BEYOND. Starting with the fresh beet juice margarita, every leaf of homegrown lettuce in the salad, the roast pork, grilled fish, soup, chewy crusty cheesy pizza... EVERYTHING.

I think they might even grow their own wheat for the pizza. Not sure... but 99% of what they serve comes from the premises.

I can't say enough about how much I love this place, right down to the charming paper placemats with helpful quotes and cute farm graphics.

OH and they also love stray dogs and support places that rescue them in the area, and have rescued quite a menagerie themselves. Some of their canine cohorts even join you for dinner. The first time I went they let me sit on the patio with my dog which was very, very, nice of them.

OH and their owner came to eat at our cafe, Bistro Magico and I didn't even know who she was or what she had to eat. But after the fact I was very star-struck.

E-Z to find, you just cross over the big bridge in the historic section of San Jose, turn left at the giant man holding a fish over his head and continue to follow the signs. You will wind around a bit and then go up a big deserted-looking hill, but then Flora Farms will magically be upon you and it will be heavenly.

Make your reservation online at:

Santa Carmela Market

I really miss blogging regularly but am about to catch up BIG TIME as we head into Summer. The Bistro is now open 10:30 to 3:00pm and Saturday is a special Crepe Day which means I don't have to be there. YIPEE.

It's weird how you never hear about a place and then you start hearing about it from EVERYONE within one week.

This market is fantastic. In April we had a Passover Sedar at the Bistro and one of the hostesses bought Matzoh Ball Soup Mix at this Market. They also have a complete line of USA healthfoods:Bob's Red Mill grains, Frozen Ezekiel Bread, specialty yogurts, dill pickles, excellent dog food, etc. Full line of liquor including mini bottles of Tito's Vodka which is just about my favorite.

They also have vitamins, herbs, specialty sodas, chips, etc. All the wonderful things you miss when you are living down here that you can't find anywhere else.

The market is run by a family and they are very gracious and helpful.

Of course these things cost more than they do in the USA because the items are IMPORTED and import taxes must be paid. Also shipping from the USA must be paid to and that is crazy expensive.

But I maintain that the prices are reasonable and the service they are providing is invaluable if you want to supplement your diet of fish tacos with some healthy items.

They are located on the main Hwy. - same side as Home Depot about 2 miles past Home Depot (toward San Jose.) They are the main item in a small mini mall with a good sign.

My only note/request to them is to do a better job at pricing all their items. The stuff comes in so fast they just want to get it out on the shelf and it forces you to cringe at the register while you are waiting to see just how much you will have to pay for your treasured items.

Viva Santa Carmela!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Opening a Restaurant in Baja!

For a long time I have dreamed of opening a restaurant.  For a few years I have thought our tiny Todos Town could use some Falafel. It's Vegan, healthy, fast and uses the same equiptment as a fish taco stand: vat of oil, grill for the bread, cabbage etc.

I also make a singular type of pancake that is semi-fried and crispy around the edges. It might even be half donut.

My friend Richie said, "Do it! Open a stand and call it Waffles & Falafels." Loved the name, but didn't want to make waffles though I sense those would go over big here too.

A space became available. I was hesitant to jump in with fancy work permits and health permits and employee social security payments etc. etc. but I felt somthing spring up inside me that allowed me to take the LEAP. I also had a Fairy Godmother who leapt in with some financial support which kept me from making a mistake and going into a mismatched partnership.

Bistro Magico has been open for 5 weeks. The people of the town have come out to support us and it has been tremendously fun. We are in a good corner location on Militar and Hidalgo.

The best part may have been transforming the bright orange and yellow juice place into a cozy little arty nook. I love hiring and working with the artisans of this town; metal workers, stained glass experts, cement workers, carpenters, etc.

The style of the food is mas o menos Mediterranea with a little French thrown in. We have Turkish Coffee, Salad Nicoise (pictured below), Falafel and Cous Cous. We do Asian specials a few times a week such as Spring Rolls, Soba Noodles and Thai Curry.

Of course it has been a TON of work and lots of money was spent, somewhere around $12,000 USD.

I'm looking at it like restaurant business school. The town is my teacher and it's a lot of fun. The only downside is I don't have much time for blogging but I will try to share the useful ins-and-outs of the process.